shredding magazines

a non-profit organization keeps sending me free subscriptions to random magazines, one of which happens to be a popular periodical about parenting. in another attempt to solidify my point about how popular culture mindfu*ks mothers in particular, i give you examples of subconscious manipulation, straight out of the april, 2005 issue of this magazine:

1. the tagline: "what really matters to moms." how in the hell do you know what really matters to me in my role as a mother? 'nuff said.

2. p. 24: "how we make mealtime fun." okay, i know that there are moms/dads out there that like to cook, so this wouldn't apply to you. but for those of us who'd rather papercut our eyeballs than cook, the last thing i need is to actually make mealtime fun. and they mean fun for the kid, not the cook. so i must be a completely crappy mom since i microwave fish sticks and tater tots, put them on a paper plate and serve them to my kid in front of the tv while "raymond" is on. here's a nice quote for you: "i pretend to be the star of a cooking show, and my kids sit behind the kitchen counter as my 'audience.' we've even come up with our own theme song!" yeah, it goes like this: i feel so pressured to entertain my kids every waking moment that i will resort to this asinine ritual that makes cooking take twice as long.

3. p. 26: a bottle advertisement with the masthead: "introducing breastfeeding for dads." because we all know that feeding formula is child abuse, and even if we can trick dad into thinking he's breastfeeding [makes me think of the boob in "meet the fockers"], then everything will be okay.

4. p.27: "5 signs it's spring." item #4: it's time to sign the kids up for sports. okay...how many of you remember being forced to play a sport or the piano or go to camp and hated every minute of it? research comes out every day saying that our kids are overscheduled. but, by all means, let's sign them up for sports. [yes, i know playing sports boosts esteem - i'm just saying let's keep it to a minimum]

5. p. 28: "who gets on your nerves more often - your kids or your husband?" out of 15,000 responses, 71% said that the husband was the bigger pain. the most popular reasons were: doesn't clean up after himself, needy, demanding, whiny, doesn't listen or follow through and set in his ways. yet popular culture says that women need to take the reins in making a marriage fulfilling. i wonder why that doesn't work?

6. p. 36: a section called "kids' health." they have these "mom tips" throughout the mag, but this one had me rolling: "for little emergencies when i'm doing errands with my kids, i keep a container in the car of wet wipes, acetaminophen and bandges." thanks for the tip, martha stewart. i am lucky to have the car seat in there.

7. p. 59: "how to cut your waiting time at...[various places such as the post office, bank, etc.]." this article suggests when places will be least crowded. but they are empty at that time for a reason: most people are at work, probably including you! so while the post office might be clear at midmorning, how is that going to help you while you're sitting at your desk? the answer is simple...spend your free time doing mindless errands. who cares about taking care of yourself?

8. p.78: "do's and don'ts of bringing your child to the office." here's a big don't: don't do it at all. it annoys your co-workers and you know you won't be able to get a friggin' thing done. there's a problem that needs your attention if you feel that you have to being the kid in with you.

9. p.83: "7 fun things you can do with egg cartons." when will you have time to do these projects if you work at least 8 hours/day and then have to shuttle your kids around for all those sports that you signed him or her up for?

10. p.92: "your baby's big triumphs: the skills your child needs to achieve them - and how you'll feel when she does." this helpful article gives timelines about basic development: sitting up, walking, smiling, talking, etc. but it ignores the fact that child development is a spectrum, not an absolute. one kid may walk at 9 months and another at 18 months. i have heard so many moms freak out because their baby wasn't yet doing what they're "supposed to."

i could go on, but this is long enough. parents, don't believe everything you read. everyone has a different opinion, and the information overload can really screw you up. do what's right for your family and trust your instincts, not some stupid magazine, book, or "expert." don't even trust me!

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